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31 Jan 2007 : Column 329W—continued

Environment Agency

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much was spent on consultants by the Environment Agency in each of the last five years. [116172]

Ian Pearson [holding answer 17 January 2007]: Annual consultancy expenditure by the Environment Agency for the last 5 years is as follows:

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Consultancy expenditure (£ million)











(1 )Estimated figures.

Percentage breakdown of consultancy services:

Percentage breakdown
Service provided 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06

Engineering and Environmental Cons




Flood Management Consultancy




Management Consultants




IT Consultants




Cost Consultants




Environment Protection Consultants




Water Resources Consultancy




Fisheries and Aquaculture




The Environment Agency delivers a large capital programme and a significant number of services in support of its flood risk management activities. Externalisation of a large element of this competency occurred during the early 1990s when a significant element of business and staff were transferred into private sector civil engineering and environment consultancy practices.

The previous accounting system used by the Environment Agency did not provide detailed breakdown for years 2001-02 and 2002-03.

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much the Environment Agency spent on leased cars for staff in each of the last five years. [116174]

Ian Pearson [holding answer 17 January 2007]: The Environment Agency has spent the following on lease cars for staff in each of the last five years:

£ million











(1) Figures are estimates based on vehicle numbers.

Illegal Meat Imports

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will discuss with the Secretary of State for Transport introducing a compulsory element to air passenger safety films on
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board aircraft to tackle the dangers of illegal meat imports. [111630]

Mr. Bradshaw: DEFRA holds regular discussions, on a range of issues, with the Department for Transport. Article 3 of Commission Regulation (EC) No 745/2004 lays down measures with regard to imports of products of animal origin for personal consumption. Under this regulation, international passenger transport operators are obliged to inform all EU-bound passengers of the animal health conditions for Community imports of products of animal origin.

Airlines operating flights into the UK from non-EU countries are regularly reminded of their obligations. They have been offered the script of an announcement and a video produced by DEFRA and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs for in-flight use, to assist them in meeting this requirement. Almost 200 airlines have been contacted as part of this exercise, with the majority taking up the offer.

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the volume of illegal meat imports into the UK in each of the last five years; what volume has been seized; how many successful prosecutions there have been for meat smuggling; and what further steps he plans to take to tackle illegal meat imports. [111442]

Mr. Bradshaw: Because the trade referred to is illegal, data on the volume of imports do not exist. In 2006 the European Food Safety Authority published a risk assessment into the risk of foot and mouth disease being introduced into the EU, which is available on the DEFRA website. This estimated that up to 2,000 tonnes of animal products may be illegally imported by travellers into the EU each year.

Since April 2001, seizures of illegal meat imported into the UK have been recorded and are shown in the following table:

As at 1 April to 31 March each year: Seizures (kilograms)











HM Revenue and Customs has been responsible for anti-smuggling controls on products of animal origin into Great Britain since 11 April 2003.

The numbers of prosecutions taken by HM Revenue and Customs for POAO illegal imports offences are shown in the following table:

As at April to March each year: Number of prosecutions







All prosecutions were successful.

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Details of prosecutions for offences relating to illegal imports of meat into the UK are recorded by local authorities and are not collected centrally.

HMRC continues to target POAO on the basis of risk and intelligence, with a view to reducing the level of illegal imports. All HMRC frontline detection staff include animal products as part of their anti-smuggling responsibilities. However, within these resources, dedicated teams (currently totalling around 100 officers) with prime responsibility for detecting illegal POAO are deployed. Anti-smuggling staff are supported by both the use of detector dogs and baggage x-ray scanning equipment.

DEFRA assists HMRC in deploying its resources according to risk, by providing information on the animal health disease situation around the world, including the risks from new disease outbreaks. HMRC and DEFRA continue to develop and evaluate publicity campaigns aimed at raising awareness within Great Britain, at borders and overseas.

Further details can be found in the ‘Annual Review of Controls on Imports of Animal Products: April 2005-March 2006’. A copy has been deposited in the House Library.


Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent estimate he has made of the landfill capacity available for local authorities in areas covered by the Sustainable Communities Plan; and if he will make a statement. [111638]

Mr. Bradshaw: No specific estimate has been made by this Department of landfill capacity available to local authorities in areas covered by the Sustainable Communities Plan.

The capacity of landfill sites in England and Wales has been assessed by the Environment Agency. It concluded that there is sufficient landfill capacity to meet current waste arisings in England. Future capacity is difficult to predict. However, a number of Government policies are designed to significantly reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfill.

On 22 January this year, I announced new powers to set up joint waste authorities, which will help local authorities work together to achieve better integrated, cost-effective waste services and invest in more sustainable waste facilities. These new powers, together with more challenging waste targets, progressively lower landfill limits and the escalating landfill tax will all help the UK to move away from its reliance on landfill. These measures will also encourage more sustainable waste management through greater reduction, reuse and recycling.


Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which options are currently being considered by his Department for the continuation of the Real Nappy Programme. [117591]

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Mr. Bradshaw: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given on 15 January 2007, Official Report, column 771W.


Ann Coffey: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assessment he has made of the effect on levels of disposed packaging of people purchasing unpackaged food from local street markets; [111764]

(2) what steps he is taking to promote the sale of fruit and vegetables in loose rather than pre-packaged form; [111765]

(3) what the contribution to landfill is of (a) all food packaging and (b) packaging materials for fresh fruit and vegetables. [111766]

Mr. Bradshaw: Food-related packaging makes up an estimated 18 per cent. of household waste and around 3.3 per cent. of the controlled waste which is sent to landfill(1). No estimate is currently available of the proportion of landfilled packaging waste which relates to fresh fruit and vegetable sales.

The Waste and Resources Action Programme is currently working with all leading supermarkets through the Courtauld commitment to achieve a standstill, and then a reduction, in the amount of packaging waste. A number of retailers are considering the role that the selling of loose fruit and vegetables could make to those objectives without increasing the amount of damaged produce which is then discarded. The current situation is unsatisfactory and I urge retailers to address this issue quickly.

In general, street market sales of fruit and vegetables are less highly packaged but no estimate is available of the savings to landfill which might result from an increased use of street markets.

Recycling: School Waste

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of school waste was recycled in 2005-06; and what plans he has to encourage schools to recycle more waste in 2007-08. [112348]

Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 30 January 2007]: Waste from schools is classed as household waste. 26.7 per cent. of household waste was recycled or composted in 2005-06.

Waste Strategy 2000 set targets for the management of household and municipal waste. These included 2005, 2010 and 2015 targets for the recycling and composting of household waste (25 per cent., 30 per cent. and 33 per cent.) and for the recovery of municipal waste (40 per cent., 45 per cent. and 67 per cent). The waste strategy review consultation document, published in February 2006, proposed new targets for 2010, 2015 and 2020 for the recycling and composting of household waste (40 per cent., 45 per cent. and 50 per cent.) and municipal waste recovery
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(53 per cent., 67 per cent. and 75 per cent.). We intend to publish the revised waste strategy in the spring.

The Department for Education and Skills recently held a consultation on a sustainable schools strategy and DEFRA will be working with DfES and other partners, including the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), following the consultation to help schools minimise, reuse, recycle and compost their waste. It is our intention as part of this work to issue guidance to schools to include issues around the definition of waste from schools and ‘top 10 tips’.

In addition, WRAP is currently developing a schools programme as part of its successful Recycle Now communications campaign. The aim of the programme is to change recycling behaviour at home and at school. The programme includes:


Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will make a statement on progress in the National Scrapie Plan. [111053]

Mr. Bradshaw: The National Scrapie Plan Ram Genotyping Scheme has been under review during the second half of 2006, following a decision by the EU Council and Parliament to reject proposals for compulsory scrapie resistance testing in pure bred and pedigree flocks.

The review included an examination by the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee of the science underpinning the NSP, and an assessment of the benefits gained from the RGS over the last five years. SEAC concluded that the RGS approach of selective breeding for scrapie resistance remained a scientifically valid approach for eradicating classical scrapie. They concluded however that the prevalence of BSE in the UK sheep population is most likely zero, or very low if present at all, and consequently the current RGS would have little impact on public health.

Ministers have accepted the review’s key recommendation that a fully-funded RGS is therefore no longer appropriate. Instead, Departments should consult on options for the future of the RGS—either a cost-shared genotyping scheme, or closure of the scheme.

Ministers have also agreed that the consultation should take place in the summer in the light of progress on wider work on responsibility and cost sharing which is already under way. It will also cover the NSP flock register. Officials will continue informal discussions with sheep industry stakeholders and RGS members.

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